HONG KONG/NEW YORK: Tencent Holdings, the Chinese internet giant, has secured a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) of the US to live stream MLB games and highlights, including the World Series, to its huge base of online users.
The new strategic partnership was announced earlier this week at a press conference in Beijing, where it was explained that Tencent will have exclusive rights to stream 125 games across its desktop, mobile and OTT platforms.
Already underway, Tencent’s streaming schedule launched with “Super Baseball Week”, five consecutive days of games featuring some of baseball’s top stars, including Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor and Aaron Judge, among others.
After the first week, ending this Sunday, Tencent will then live stream regular season games every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as well as the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, T-Mobile Home Run Derby, and every game of the Postseason and World Series presented by YouTube TV.
And in addition to making US baseball available to its legions of online users, Tencent has agreed to work closely with MLB to help promote the sport in China by streaming youth baseball and organising development events.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, the partnership is the latest in a series of streaming deals that Tencent has negotiated with US sports leagues in recent years, including the National Basketball Association and National Football League.
It also comes at a time when Tencent, along with other Chinese internet and e-commerce giants, such as Alibaba and Baidu, are investing heavily in digital content to boost subscriptions.
Commenting on the new partnership, Tencent vice president Caitlyn Chen said: "Tencent has continued to collaborate with the world’s top sports leagues securing broadcast rights for basketball, soccer, tennis, winter sports, football and now baseball.
“In recent years, baseball has developed rapidly in China, which wouldn’t happen without MLB’s dedicated promotion in China for over a decade.
“In the future, with the advantage of Tencent’s production and broadcasting, refined operational excellence and powerful social platforms, we will bring the attention to MLB and baseball in China to a new level.”
Sourced from MLB, South China Morning Post; additional content by WARC staff